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Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Denton.
RESOLVED, that the minutes of the meeting held on 10th August 2023, (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interest
Please telephone the Corporate and Community Services team to prepare a form for your signature before the meeting. Interests must be re-declared when the item is called. A declaration of interest under the Code of Conduct will be a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, an Other Registrable Interest or a Non-Registrable Interest. If the item directly relates to your interest you must declare the interest and leave the room for the item, save in the case of Other Registrable Interests or Non-Registrable Interests where you may first speak on the item as a member of the public if provision has been made for the public to speak. If the matter does not directly relate to your interest but still affects it then you must consider whether you are affected to a greater extent than most people and whether a reasonable person would consider your judgement to be clouded, if you are then you must leave the room for the item (although you may speak as a member of the public if provision has been made for the public to speak) or, if you are not, then you can declare the interest but still take part).
There were no declarations of interest announced.
The Joint Committee considered a report by the Finance Manager (NDC) (circulated previously) regarding the 2023/24 Q2 Forecast Building Control Partnership Trading Account.
The Finance Manager gave the Committee the following summary:
· Page 11 of the agenda showed the table detailing the figures for the Partnership Trading Account.
· The first set of columns of the trading account table, showed the yearly budget for each Authority.
· The second set of columns showed the forecasted outturn for the year 2023/24 based on the total variance as at quarter 2.
· At the bottom of these columns a percentage split was shown to work out the income for the two Authorities.
· Currently the split was 66.75% for North Devon and 33.25% for Mid-Devon.
· Referring back to the quarter one position, income for Mid-Devon had dropped off and so the split was 63.77% for North Devon and 36.23% for Mid-Devon.
· The split was important to know as the expenditure for the trading account for each Authority could then be worked out.
· The third set of columns showed the percentage split of trade income between the two Authorities.
· “The reconciliation – 12 month position compared to budget” box detailed that North Devon Council had a deficit of £47,492.40 and Mid-Devon District Council had a £6,026.60 deficit.
· The movement from quarter one showed the account was £13,000 better off.
The Head of Planning, Health and Housing advised the Committee that realistically it should be anticipated that there would be a reduction in business for both Authorities due to a drop in applications coming forward and this reduction of income should therefore, be accounted for in next year’s budget.
The Committee noted the report.
The Committee considered a report by the Building Control Manager (circulated previously) regarding the Building Control Business update.
He advised that the lack of technical resource continued to hamper the service. Applications were taking much longer to reach surveyors due to the lack of technically qualified staff. Since writing this report have had a meeting with the Devon Audit team so would be interesting to see the outcome of their findings.
He outlined the main areas of the report, which were under the following headings:
· Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 2022/23.
· KPIs 2023/24.
· Resource Implications.
· Building Safety Act 2022 – 1st October 2023 – Changes.
· Validation Process.
· Building Safety Regulator Registration.
· British Safety Regulator (BSR) Operational Standards.
· Partnership Priorities.
He drew the Joint Committee’s attention to the following key points within the report:
· The market share for number of applications was at 70% against a target of 75%.
· The performance in relation to decisions taken within two months was at 98% against a target of 95%. Plan examination response times with applications being examined within 3 weeks was at 93% against a target of 95% and average time to first response was 18 days against a target 10 days.
· The partnership was currently trading with only one part-time Building Control Technical Support Team Member.
· The improvements to the processing times through decision making were as a result of additional support, which had been provided by the Mid-Devon District Council Planning Technical team through the months of July and August 2023. However, the service still had some way to go in terms of achieving their target in relation to first response time.
· The general market share was reported at 70% in Q2 2022/23 and appeared to have continued to stabilise at the current time, with the last three quarters reporting an average of approximately 71% share.
· The number of applications were on a par with numbers received in Q2 in the last financial year. However, total application numbers were at significantly lower levels than the total number received by the end of Q2 in previous years.
· As reported previously, the current resourcing issues continued to damage the Partnerships ability to function, its reputation and its ability to maximise income.
· The Partnership continued had relied heavily on the support provided to them through the Technical Team from Mid-Devon and wanted to give thanks for their support.
· There had been a successful recruitment drive and two new Technical Support Officers had been recruited with both new members of staff starting in early November 2023. This would bring the Support Team up to full numbers.
· It would however, take some time for the new members of staff to be fully up to speed.
In response to a question on when the new officers were actually starting. The Building Control Manager advised that one officer had a start date of 6 November 2023 for the new Technical Team Leader post and the other post was 13 November 2023. References were still ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
Date and location of future meeting.
Thursday 25th January 2024 at 10:00am in the Barum room, Brynsworthy Environment Centre.
(NOTE: Unless otherwise agreed the Joint Committee must meet at least on a quarterly basis with the meeting held at 10.00am and the offices of the Chairman’s partner authority).
The Joint Committee agreed the remaining date of the final meeting for 2023/24, which was scheduled to be held on:
· Thursday 25th January 2024 at 10:00am in the Barum room, Brynsworthy Environment Centre.